- 75 years old
- Date of birth: Nov 22, 1939
- Date of passing: Dec 24, 2014
|Let the memory of Judy be with us forever and let her strength and creativity inspire us every day.|
Welcome to Judy's virtual memorial. Our hope is that this will be a living memorial, created and enjoyed by all those who loved Judy as much as we do. As you know, our family traveled and made friends all over the world, and it would be quite a challenge to bring all of you into the same time zone, much less the same city for a service, so we invite you here...to Judy's virtual living memorial where you can visit at any time and as many times as you desire...for a lifetime. Please share your thoughts, tributes, stories, upload your pictures or videos, anything that reminds you of Judy. Please sign in so that we know you have been here, and please come back often to enjoy what others share. (Your e-mail will not be used in any way other than allowing us to know you were here.) You will bless us and many others as your memories give us richer insights of the wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend we all love. .
P.S. Click on the "Her Life" tab to read a brief overview of Judy's life in her own words.
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
(Mom loved this poem, written by Max Ehrmann in 1927 and included in devotional materials in St. Paul's Church, so much that she had her sister Jackie create calligraphy paintings of it for our college graduations.)
"Thinking of Judy today, along with her beautiful husband and family. So many wonderful memories and happy times. Love to all. Marigail"
"Another year gone by. Loving and missing you on your birthday.
"To Judy's Loved Ones.....As time passes, how fortunate I feel that I have 'another' day to cherish and 'challenge fate' and only hope to accomplish a smidgen of what your Mom did......and I'm sure that you are managing to do the same for her as well.....Give thanks this Holiday Season and enjoy ALL that Judy instilled in all of you....Always, Ginny"
"During this blessed Christmas Season my thoughts are, as always, with Judy and all of you. Love Doe."
I love you and miss you. I talk to you all the time. I know you would have been proud of Katherine when she won state again this year for swimming. She loves middle school and is playing trumpet in the band. Christopher still loves playing a variety of sports and is doing well in school. He read the book The Chocolate Pilot this year for a school reading battle, and it was all about the Berlin Airlift. How I wanted to be able to pick up the phone and ask you questions about it since you lived in Germany then...but I talked to you in pray instead. You were always so knowledgeable and full of great advice. We remind the children that you are always watching them and are proud of them!
I love you,
Merry Christmas! This year I have been doing lots of things. One thing is my battle of the books team won the championship. The same day I had a basketball game, and I scored 6 points. Also for Christmas I got my own iPhone 6s and more. Plus my family and I are on a ski trip in Utah. So that is about it. Bye Mimi.
I love you and miss you,
Merry Christmas Eve!! (Well tomorrow is Christmas so Merry Christmas too!!) Today is your 1 year anniversary of your passing and I really do miss you. I know you are having a great time in heaven! ❤️ Scout misses you too!!❤️ He is the 3rd child! I love you!
"Dear Mimi, (also know as the greatest Grandmother in the galaxy)
Happy 76th Birthday! I love you and miss you very much! This year has been crazy. In October, I was playing a game called Capture the Ball and this boy pushed me on the ground even though we were on the same team. I suddenly fell on my wrist and fainted because of the pain. (that was the first time I ever fainted) I found out later that I fractured my wrist. I am really sad because I will be missing almost all of the middle school swim meets. I want you to know that I have been praying for you! Also, I hope you have an amazing Thanksgiving and Christmas. I will keep talking to you in my prayers!
"In Special Remembrance to Judy, This month was always special between Judy and me, because we always tried to celebrate together. My thoughts are special toward her; I miss her, but I have the Word of God to comfort me. Psalm 116:15 "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints." Judy was gloriously welcomed as she entered the Kingdom of God in heaven, a place where I also have a home. Just think, I maybe Judy's neighbor! My prayer of Thanksgiving is also with John who faithfully and lovingly took care of Judy as she fought the good fight of faith. It seems that birth and death are difficult transitions. However, I urge everyone to plan ones passing as they so diligently plan the birth of a child. In other words, write down your ideal for passing into the Kingdom of God. For example, some people desire a sound mind or always be independent. Judy would approve of this information. God bless you, John and the family."
"John, Mari, and Elizabeth, as I celebrated Easter with my family, I was reminded of the Guam Easters we shared together. Celebrating Mass as a group of Stateside transplants drew us all together as family. At the beach, at a park, or in someone's living room, with a makeshift altar, we created so many memories that the youngest in the group still cherish. I can imagine the beautiful Easter celebration shared by all our family members who have gone befor us. I can see Judy sitting back in her relaxed but regal posture, laughing and enjoying the company."
"I was privileged to know Judy vicariously through Barbie and this website. She was a beautiful lady who left an amazing legacy. Peace and blessings on all she left behind,
"I will always remember Judy as my inspiration for pursuing the family tree and doing it correctly with sources. Even though it was John I am related to, I still felt close to Judy and she was always kind and encouraging to me. I am so sorry she is no longer with us."
"Upon meeting Judy in the Finnegayan Library on Guam in the early fall of 1974, I was struck not only by her physical beauty, but by her calmness, serenity and depth. As a young school teacher I was quite agog at this sophisticated, worldly woman. She guided me through the far-less-than-perfect in the island children. After Typhoon Pamela in May of 1976, we visited Judy, John and the girls at their Carlos Heights house and passed a pleasant evening in the glow of their hurricane lanterns and their warm company. John, Pepper and the girls often came down to the beach for some adventure on the Hobie Cat, Judy less so, but it was a treat when she did. I remember visiting them at Carlos Heights the day before they departed Guam for Colombia. We kept in touch through those Colombian years and met up once again when I came to explore the possibility of living in Florida. Once I resettled in Florida, we visited occasionally until Judy and I took off on an adventure to Cuba.....legally through Vantage Travel. I believe this was 2003. As roommates, we had a fabulous time on this unique trip. Judy was in some discomfort throughout the journey, but didn't let that stop her. She was "up" for any adventure. What a fun travelling buddy! You are sorely missed, travelling buddy. I hope you are sailing amongst the clouds and gracing them with your beautiful presence."
Where do I start.
First memories, last memories?
My first memories of you are hazy. Since you went off to college in Miami when I was a 4 year old in New Jersey, I didn't really get to know you until we moved down to join you when I was 6. What an impression you made! I have such vivid memories of seeing you dressed in your Angel Flight uniform and also of you walking on the field of Orange Bowl stadium as homecoming attendant for the University of Miami. I thought you were so beautiful!
When we moved to Rome and you were tucked away in your attic bedroom, I remember thinking that you were like a princess living in a tower. I was fascinated by your little retreat. Then you became a movie star in my eyes. How many people can say that their sister was in a movie-Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor at that. Wow! Visiting the set with you to see how they built and filmed everything will be forever etched in my memory. For a 7 year old it was larger than life.
Then we moved back to the states and you stayed in Italy to begin your adventures... I'll never forget sitting in our back yard in Decatur, Alabama and knowing that on that day you were getting married in Rome, Italy. The picture of you and John on your wedding day looked like JFK and Jackie O! I wish I could have been there.
Except for the rare visit, I didn't get to spend much time with you over the next several years until Mama and I went to Guam to stay with you for a few weeks. That was when I got to know Mari and Elizabeth (to this day, I love staying up until late at night solving the world's problems with them). You and John were wonderful to take me with you on your trip to Hong Kong and the Phillipines. You were so confident and at ease everywhere we went and I was amazed that you had friends at every stop. That's when I realized how worldly you were and that you didn't travel to be pampered, but to immerse yourself in the life and cultures of other countries. I always treasured the gifts you brought back from your travels.
Fast forward to your long battle with cancer. I don't know anyone with the courage and tenacity you showed during this time. So many times it seemed that the end was near, and just as many times you would refuse to accept what the doctors had to offer-finding your own options and insisting that they treat you, or finding another doctor who would (I wonder where that stubbornness came from!)
But my best memory of you will always be of our last visit. The hours we spent on your porch-you lying in the hammock, too weak to sit up but excitedly relating story after story of the adventures in your life. No regrets-only so thankful that you and John had found each other-two drifters off to see the world. What a wonderful family you raised, what a wonderful life!
I love you,
"Albert and I remember especially a delightful day spent together with Judy and John in Naples not so long ago. Although our paths did not cross that often, Judy's warmth, her interest in all things and her love of people and desire to help wherever possible, was always apparent. She will be sadly missed, but her memory will live on for sure."
"So glad our paths crossed in life. Thank you Judy for all that you contributed to the genealogy of the Eakins family. Your presence with your sisters and brother and family at the Eakins family reunion was very special. Until we meet again...."
"We remember Judy as an amazing woman with an indomitable spirit and a keen intelligence and wit. She lived her life as she chose, regardless of all obstacles, with great energy and a spirit of adventure. Her travels, accomplishments, research, and her support of family were constant, despite dealing with the pain of medications and diagnosis; events that would subdue mere mortals. Judy was generous with her time and knowledge, and continues to serve as a model for those who knew her. She leaves a legacy of hope and inspiration to many.
Please know that we are so sorry for your great loss and will miss Judy, but that we will always think of her vivacious spirit, whether in conversation at the Saxton table or in her adventures around the world.
Ronnie and Jim (Saxton) Carlson"
"Judy was like a rose that has the longest lasting beauty. We always had fun together because of her quick wit. Laughter was a part of her personality lasting even to the very end. I believe that she made a grand entrance into heaven saying, "This is the most beautiful place that John and I ever travelled!" Judy left some wonderful footprints for her daughters and grandchildren to follow, and I bet she left some instructions! My memories are very special dating back to Barranquilla, Colombia in the 80"s. I treasure having known John and Judy and members of her family. My message is that "peace" is always at the end of a journey especially when the Prince of Peace says, "Well done my good and faithful servant, enter in." God bless the family. Martha Bateman"
"John, Mari and Elizabeth,
The days pass and I think more and more of Judy, all her friendship meant to me and the many memories that float into my mind ... right from the very first memories some fifty-plus years ago when Judy, John and I first met in the ITT offices in Rome. Since then our paths have crossed often, and though we have never again lived on the same continent we have never lost touch. For me, Judy was the most talented, creative, volcanic friend, someone who always amazed me with the depth of her interests and the constance of her friendship. And then, one of the most courageous people I have ever known: perhaps THE most courageous. Her strength and courage are a beacon to us all. Piero joins me in sending our love to the three of you, Polly"
"Mari & Elizabeth: I have always admired your poise and grace. I know that your Mom gave that to you. Your Mom always looked like a movie star! She brought up two wonderful women; beautiful on the inside and out. I am thankful that I knew her; I know ya'll miss her dearly and also know that she will be present in everything you do. jodi"
"Dear John & Family,
We came to know Judy and John in Colombia. Both were fun to be around. Always smiling. Judy was the quintessential mother and wife. John would make a joke or say what was on his mind and Judy would give him that look or say something letting him know to tone it down.
A true lady. Judy - God bless and God speed.
"I met Judy 11 years ago and found her to be the most intelligent and encouraging person I have ever known. She wanted us all to experience everything we could in life as she did. She used to tell me, "Life is a buffet"! She changed my life for the better in so many ways. I'm fortunate to have known her. Thank you, Judy. I miss you and love you."
"Judy never ceased to amaze me in the things she could do. When she was in college she was National Commander of Angel Flight, homecoming attendant, and worked for the Groveners(original owners of National Geographic magazine) as their personal secretary. She was a wonderful painter, jewelry designer and glass artist using a kiln for fusing pieces. She was a child model in NYC, spoke five languages fluently including German, Italian, Spanish and French. Because of her travels her knowledge of geography was filled with wonderful tales of mystery and adventure. I always looked up to her and admired her thinking she was capable of anything. She was a National Merit Scholarship finalist in high school and a charter member of Jug Club(set designer). A wonderful mother of two bright and beautiful daughters and grandmother of four bright grandchildren. Needless to say a wonderful big sister."
"Dear John amd Family,
I met Judy in Fort Myers, Florida when we took an art class togtther.
We became lunch buddies sharing an interest in art and Japaniese
restaurants. We had many good times going to art shows and gallery openings. She was making jewelry at the time. One of her pieces was purchased by Sharon Stone who was hosting a charity event to benefit the local women's shelter. She was such a talented lady! Judy was so proud of her daughters too. She was warm and caring, never forgeting to ask about my children as well.
Judy, you will be missed by many. Love, Priscilla"
"John, Mari, Elizabeth and family. We can’t tell you how sorry we are for the loss of Judy. Such a strong and determined mother who raised a wonderfully grounded and caring family. Such a sweet, sweet spirit and unbelievably courageous to persevere for over 20 years through this battle. We have so much admiration for her as well as the family for the strength all of you have shown throughout her fight. I know she was so proud of all of you and took so much pride in raising such a wonderful loving family. I hope you take a little comfort knowing that she is now at peace and we will all see her again soon. As you know our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. So many memories with the Eaken family will always be cherished."
"What an amazing full life! What a wonderful legacy she left you all. May God wrap His loving arms around your entire family as you grieve. Much love."
"Wow – what a life you led! Is there nothing you did not experience? As I read through these wonderful tributes and your life history, I feel fortunate that I can get to know you a little better. Your incredible journey through life is certainly to be admired and is an inspiration to me."
I know you did not know me but I felt I knew you spiritually and physically the moment Mari mentioned you to our Moms in prayer meetings. I prayed so hard that you will stay at least till when you felt you were ready and I believe that was what happened. I know you are at peace and joy because there are no tears, pain, sorrow or even death in heaven. Rev 21:4. I believe you have joined one of the cloud of witnesses to cheer on your Husband, children and grand children as they continue this life's journey. I do feel a very great connection with Mari because my mother went to be with the lord the 16th of December and it took years for me to understand. However! I must say your strength to want to be at home with those you love while being taken to your heavenly home is one of the strongest strengths I have ever seen in my generation. I believe we will meet someday when the trumpet sounds and I know that day will be the most memorial one of all."
Thank you for being my friend from Guam, and for years to follow. I hold many fond memories of you and John as neighbors in Carlos Heights and of our visits in the subsequent years. I have always admired how you accepted adversity. Knowing life was a precious possession, you fought hard to preserve it and live it fully. Through your determined research, perseverance and courage, you succeeded against the odds when most would have been defeated. You created a network of information and support that generously benefited Realf and I as we faced Realf's challenge. You were an inspiration to all who knew you. Your devotion to your family, and your growing pride in your children and their achievements, leaves a rich legacy. I will miss you dearly.
"John and family,
Judy became a part of my long term friendship at Eaton Hall at the U of M in 1958. We maintained contact throughout these 56 years. Judy and I were the "Southerners" among the four bedroom suites at Eaton Hall. She from AL and me from Belle Glade! Oh what an education we received from our suite mates and what fun!
Judy was a beautiful person and I am glad we reconnected after all those years. We will miss her, but our memories will be forever. Alma and AJ Harrell"
"John, Mari, Elizabeth and families,
I am very sorry for your loss - Judy was a special person to all of us and I'll always have fond memories of Judy and John's visits to Decatur where we were "allowed to do anything" because Judy and John said so! Judy was one of the strongest people I've ever seen in her courageous response to her health challenges through the years but she always persevered with her headstrong spirit. We will miss Judy dearly but are lucky to have had her in our life for the time that we did. Alice and I will be praying for all of you and wishing peace upon you.
Chase, Alice, and Ann Adele"
"Dear Shirley, My heart aches for your family. I've always known how precious the bond you have with our sisters.. What beautiful memories you've shared. All of you are so gifted, and you have shared those gifts in so many ways. Stay strong, hold tightly to the love. God's peace be with you."
"So sad to hear of her passing. Sorry for your loss, John, Mari, Elizabeth, and all the family. I pray you take comfort in your memories in your family's incredible life together, and find peace in knowing how blessed she was to have such a great family. Soooo glad you were able to spend time together shortly before she passed away. That was a comfort to her, and to you for sure. Thinking of the happy memories when I was a kid on Guam in the early 70's, and our family intertwined with yours. I think my Mom and Dad (Mick and Nelda) are welcoming her to heaven and inviting them to the best parties!"
Please go find: Paul, Ralph & Joanne, Mick & Nelda and have a Guam reunion! We had so many unforgettable times both on island and after we came stateside. So many memories, so much love."
"How very sad we were to hear Judy had passed away. We think of you often and the fun times we had on Guam 45years ago. The two little girls who used to visit our house across the road and our Christmas lunch we shared with you all. What a wonderful journey you both had in life, a truely special person and couple. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all."
"Dear Eaken sisters: I know and love three of you - and I know that I would have loved Ms. Judy as well. All of you and your mother lived blest lives in so many ways that are important...and surely each of you completes the rest of you, even when absent. My tears and love to each of you in your loss, and I celebrate her life with you now. God bless you, each one, and your families...you are very special folks!"
"We had so many wonderful times together. Thank you for being part of my life."
"My Dearest Judy:
When I think of you, I think of my beautiful big sister--so smart, so competent, so talented and so determined. I have always been so proud of you. You and John have raised wonderful daughters, who, in turn, are sharing your legacy of values with their children. Each is a testimony to you.
You and I traveled 64 years of life together. You were in the lead, showing me the importance of experiencing all you could--traveling, learning and bringing back a world perspective to share. You always challenged me to think globally. You experienced great wonders but always appreciated the simplest gifts and the simplest life the most.
I cherished your great sense of humor and wonderful stories. I can see you trying to keep a "straight face" before a punch-line and hear your effervescent laughter when all was told. You recognized serious issues but preferred to make light of the human condition.
You and I are part of a four-some--four sisters. We are as different as the compass directions but so similar in the common denominators. We are intrinsically bound to each other, now and always. Nothing can separate us.
Now you travel the universe but you are not so far that I will not remember all that you are and travel with you in my mind and heart. I love you very much and will miss you while we are separated.
"My heart took a skip a few days ago when I learned of Judy's passing. My good, dear friends, John and Judy. I have so many memories. It goes back over 40 years when we arrived on Guam, to find, very quickly, our "Guam family." How fortunate we were to meet the Bouchers, the darling Mari and Elizabeth, and their special Mom and Dad. After we left, it was due to Judy's friendship that we kept in touch (and this was pre-email days). We had so many special times (remember John? the helicopter ride over Guam?), remember your visiting us in England? How very kind of you both to welcome my new husband Leroy, where we had an amazing trip to the BVI. I can't count all the memories. Just tonight I made Caesar Salad, and I had to slow down because it was Judy who showed me the "right" way to tear the lettuce. I visited Judy in Florida shortly after her cancer treatments started. Her strength amazed me. It was because she totally adored and loved John and her daughters, which kept her going all these years. I'll probably be back to this tribute page because I can't say enough about this amazing lady and all the memories! Love, Marigail"
"Dear Jon and loved ones.....Judy was an important part of one of my most favorite time of my life...our time at UofM....from her I learned dedication, determination, as well as how to be a true friend.....over the years....our group from Eaton Hall has dwindled and drifted away from each other....Jon, you and Judy had a life filled with wonderful adventures that took you all over the world!....and even through Judy's many health battles, she seemed to squeeze every 'positive' out of a situation.....thank you for the times you helped bring the EH gang together.....Ginny & Phil"
"We met Judy and John shortly after moving next door to them on Deep Passage Lane 4 years ago. We had a few opportunities to get together and get to know each other. Judy was an amazing person, talented, creative, awe inspiring in the way she tackled her disease. I feel blessed to have known her and as I read these tributes, I get a clearer picture of the wonderful woman, wife, mother, grandmother, friend she was to so many. Our condolences to John, their daughters and families.
Marcia and Clare"
You were the best grandmother I ever had. I loved your hugs and kisses. I loved to be your snuggle bear, play Phase 10 with you, laugh with you, and travel with you. I remember the last time I saw you. I know I will see you again in heaven one day.
I love you more than you can ever imagine! You inspire me everyday to be joyful, creative, loving, and many more things. Thank you so much for buying me jewelry-making tools and teaching me how to be as amazing as you are at making jewelry! Also thank you for teaching me so much about drawing. You have some really good patience! Some day I hope to be the great artist that you are. You are so strong and an amazing cancer fighter. I know you are in heaven, and I will see you there soon!
I will always love you! Thank you for showing me how to create beautiful buildings and giving me tips along the way. Thank you for teaching us all wonderful skills and for taking us on trips around the world. Thank you for being such a wonderful wife to Poppy and a wonderful mother to Aunt E and my mother Mari. Most of all, thank you for being a wonderful grandmother.
John Boucher Cleveland"
I will never forget your sweet smile, your great teachings, and how you influenced me and all your grandchildren. (Katherine Law age 10 and 1/2, Christopher Law age 9, Lilly Cleveland age 12, and John Cleveland age 14) I love that you taught me how to make jewelry because I will now be able to make wonderful things! Even though you had cancer you would never let that get you down, and you would always try to find ways to fight it. Mimi, the greatest memory that I will never forget about you is how you were a fighter.
"It is nearly 20 years ago that Judy and John welcomed us as their new neighbors in Deep Passage Lane. They generously invited us to their home and included us to their family Thanksgiving dinner. We could feel how much she was loved by John, her daughters and later also by her sons-in-law and her grandchildren.
Judy was always so interested in hearing news about our home in Germany. We remember her thinking about advice on the design of our new house and when she finally visited us in Munich with John, Polly and Piero from Italy she could see that we had realized one of her ideas.
Each time we came to Florida we did something together and enjoyed the company of each other. When we come back now there will be an empty space.
We miss you, Judy.
Manfred and Marlies"
"We met Judy & John in Barranquilla, Colombia in 1986 and became great friends and companions on & off the golf course. We immediately realized what a beautiful & talented & fun-loving lady Judy was. She was easy to laugh even after she became an unlucky victim of the "big C". And what an adventurer she was and never gave up fighting the affliction but taking every chance to see more of the world for 26 years. Judy was and is one of the most memorable and admirable individuals we have ever had the privilege to know and share fun & laughs with. We will never forget her and will miss her forever."
"How we laughed. More than her awe inspiring talents, I'll remember all our laughter - the ghastly junk dyed shell thing we gifted back & forth, our horrible golf with Bob's blue smoke curses, and the jokes through all those years....We should laugh in memory of Judy, the joy would be a fitting tribute to her and her amazing love of life."
"John and Judy, world travelers, life travelers, you warmed the hearts of all of us with whom you crossed paths."
Thank you for all that you have done for me, given me, sacrificed for me. Thank you for the times that you put my needs and wants above your own. Now that I am a Mom, I am overwhelmed by the understanding of how much you love me and how much you desire for me. Thank you for teaching me how to be a Mom by loving me so much, by always believing in me and by teaching me to believe in myself and my potential to do anything I set my mind to. I grew up believing that I was smart and capable of success, unafraid to tackle any challenge, because that’s how you taught me to see myself. What an incredible legacy you gave me! Legacy in our home did not mean entrance into a sorority, but entrance into the possibilities of life! You taught me to have deeper interests and desires for my future; as Dad would say, you taught us to “keep our priorities straight!”
Mom, your gifts and talents are many, and I feel so blessed to have been influenced by them. You have an incredible gift of seeing beauty… whether it is the intricate beauty in the tiniest glow worm cave in New Zealand, the majestic beauty of the world’s largest monolith in Australia, the architectural beauty of a temple in the jungles of Honduras … the hills of Greece, or the artistic beauty found in galleries the world over, you taught us to see it, and you gave us a thirst to seek it. You have an incredible hunger for knowledge which also leads to an incredible spirit of adventure… you want to experience everything, to learn about everything, to soak up all you can—it has kept you young and vibrant and interesting and has led you to give our family life experiences that others only dream of. You have given both Elizabeth and me those gifts…it’s wonderful to watch Elizabeth, the intrepid adventurer, follow in your world traveling footsteps, and I can remember standing in a gallery in the Louvre, excitedly explaining to a friend the marvelous details of a painting that I had just studied in an art class only to turn and find a dozen tourists surrounding us, hanging on my every word. You have given us a passion for knowledge that we desire to share with others…this is the foundation of my professional career and Elizabeth’s.
Mom, you also have the gift of seeing possibilities and solving problems… God gave you an incredible mind that can analyze things and immediately see new and better options… whether it is the layout of a room, the design of a piece of furniture or jewelry, or the career opportunities available. I smile as I think of all of the articles you’ve sent me over the years…showing me possibilities of how to apply my own gifts... you have always desired the best for me. I know that you have influenced me to see the potential and possibilities in others, and this is one of my passionate pursuits: to help others see the gifts that God has given them and find the joy that comes from using them. I look forward to finding the gifts that John and Lilly have been blessed with and giving them that same belief in themselves that you gave me. I want them to see beauty, seek knowledge and adventure, and see possibilities, just as you always have.
Mom, perhaps the greatest gift you have shared with me is how to be a faithful wife, mother and friend. Through your example and your words as you praised many of Dad’s attributes, I learned the important qualities to seek in a husband and a father for my children. I learned that you could disagree and still love one another. You and Dad chose to solve problems, work through challenges together and always put our family first. What an incredible witness you have been to the power of faithfulness and covenant-keeping in the midst of a society that teaches us to always seek pleasure and avoid pain. You’ve taught us tenacity…tenacity in holding onto life and to those you hold most dear. That tenacity also makes you a faithful friend…as you can see in the letters from your friends around the world… you are appreciated and loved. The words that echoed for me included faithful, true, honest, wonderful experiences and laughter. Laughter… as a child, I remember trying to do or say things that would make you smile and laugh, because I loved to hear your laugh. I still do. It took my breath away when Lilly told me what she loves about Mimi... “when she smiles, I see a rainbow smiling back at me”. ..I can relate to those words. Thank you for a lifetime of beautiful rainbows…rich with possibilities. My desire was that this gift would remind you of how much you are loved and make you smile…I love you, Mom. --Mari
(written to accompany Mom's 70th Birthday gift--November 2009)"
First of all, I want to say how much I love you. I have always appreciated how you have encouraged and supported me throughout my childhood and as I have pursued my goals as an adult. When I think about you, some of these words come to mind. ENCOURAGEMENT… When I had to wear a back brace in high school you reminded me that God only gives you what you can handle. I have continued to remember this whenever I have faced a challenge. SUPPORTIVE… When I told you I found out I was #2 in my high school graduation class you went to the administration to ensure that I was awarded the honor I had earned, High School Salutatorian! GOOD ADVICE… You always gave me good advice, telling me to go to whatever college I wanted to attend and to major in whatever I wanted. I think other people thought my parents were crazy to pay for me to attend Vanderbilt University when I was studying to become a teacher, but I am forever grateful that you and dad gave me that opportunity. CREATIVE IDEAS… When I told you that I had been asked to attend Cambridge University, but it would mean that I’d have to graduate a semester late, it was you who gave me the idea to ask the administration if I could student teach through their university instead. That led to me being the first Peabody student to student teach in England, and I believe that program still exists today! You gave me SELF CONFIDENCE in my abilities. I always believed I could achieve anything I wanted. While I was completing me Doctorate in Education I remember telling my friends that achieving this goal had nothing to do with being smart (since you never did tell me my IQ score!), it had to do with being determined and persistent!
I attribute my love of READING, EATING, and TRAVELING to you. READING… I remember you always reading to Mari and me before we’d go to bed at night. My favorite stories as a child came from a book that you had read as a child, Under the Magic Umbrella. Every Christmas Eve I loved having you tuck us into bed and hearing you tell us from memory the story, The Night Before Christmas. When I went to college my favorite class was Children’s Literature, and I was always so proud to tell people that my mom had been a children’s librarian. EATING… When it came to food, you loved to eat. We definitely had some family favorites, mine being spaghetti a la vongole. Even though you didn’t love to cook, since you loved to eat, you were always trying new recipes. In one week we might have eaten Southern fried chicken, Indian curry with homemade chutney, Japanese sushi, Italian gnocchi, Colombian ajiaco, German sauerbraten, or Australian pavlova. One of my funniest memories was the time you decided to make homemade pasta, and we had it stringing along all of our dining room chairs to dry. I think that might have been the only time we used the pasta maker! TRAVELING… Not only was I exposed to a variety of foods from other countries, but I was able to experience other countries first hand as well. I love telling people that I had traveled to 6 of the 7 continents by the time I was 15 years old. Some of my fondest childhood memories are the experiences we shared as we traveled around the world together as a family. What amazing adventures we have had…whether it was snow skiing in New Zealand, going on safari in Kenya, cruising through the Greek Islands, hiking Huayna Picchu in Peru, or swimming with dolphins in the Florida Keys… we had a great time doing it together. I know you were wondering if Mari and I would ever get married and start a family of our own, since we still loved traveling with you and Dad even into our 30’s! I feel so blessed to have had all of opportunities you and Dad provided for us. I truly believe you gave us amazing educational experiences that I continue to cherish today.
I hope that I will be able to give Katherine and Christopher the amazing memories and experiences you gave me while I was growing up.
I love you very much! Elizabeth"
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